Cricket, Athletics, Rugby, Football
Prince Corsort Road, Cricket Ground
12 Jul 2022
North Durham Cricket Club, North Durham RFC, Newcastle Rangers (1878)
In 1864 the North Durham Cricket Club (NDCC) was formed. The club had illustrious patrons including the Earl of Durham, the landowner Sir Walter James Bt., the Rt. Hon. William Hutt M.P and the Archdeacon of Durham. An offical opening day was held on the 23rd May 1864. The Band of the Gateshead Volunteers Rifles was in attendance.
The Rifle Volunteers had continued to use a small part of the field following the construction of the cricket club. They later had a drill hall constructed (HER16108). The cricket club ground became the amateur sporting centre of Gateshead. In June 1872 a 2 day sporting event was held which included pole-vaulting and wrestling. In 1876 the committee of the NDCC formed a football club, then rugby football began in the town the same year that was also played here and by 1881 bicycle racing had also been introduced. In the late 1890s an improvement scheme was undertaken which merged the cricket ground and remaining Drill Field. The sporting facilities included a new pavillion, a 440 yard running tack and spring track. The form of this ground remained until the late 20th century. These facilities were separated by a boundary wall from the adjacent Bowling Green (HER15708).
From 1866 the sports ground was also the home of North Durham RFC (founded 1876). It also had a cement-lined cambered cycle track. A photo of a race survives from July 1900. The cycle track did not survive but the pavilion and ground remained in use until the 1990s.
NEHL - The ground was also subject to proposal of a new football stadium, though it did not go ahead.
Newcastle's second ever football club, Newcastle Rangers, also played their first matches on the Drill Field (the cricket ground's use previously) from 1878. They could not find a pitch north of the river, but eventually took over land adjacent to Leazes Terrace. This became St. James' Park.
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Historic Environment Records
Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past
Tyne and Wear: Sitelines
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